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Never Miss a Chance to Do the Most Good

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What is your story? How did you end up in Milwaukee?Brian Mekka

I've never actually lived in Milwaukee itself, but southeastern Wisconsin has always been my home. I'm originally from Waukesha, lived in Illinois for a short while, and then came back to Menomonee Falls. My family and I currently live in Jackson, WI - just a bit north of Milwaukee. But I feel the needs of the city and county of Milwaukee drew me in to be a part of a great organization in The Salvation Army, and now Echelon.

What keeps you in Milwaukee/What do you like best about Milwaukee?

The people of Milwaukee and southeastern Wisconsin in general are the best! There's a willingness to help out, care for others, and really be the kind of "neighbor" you wish more people would be. I think that's something that could easily be taken for granted, and we should each do our best to remember that part of the culture here and do our best to emulate it.

Favorite spot in the city?

I love the lakefront and the festival grounds. There's a ton going on down there in the spring and summer, whether you want to be a part of the various festivals or just walk along Lake Michigan. It's an awesome space that we should work to maximize as a Milwaukee community.

Milwaukee festival you are eager to attend each year?

We try to hit up whatever we can fit into the summer calendar! With a couple of young kids, it's always great if there's something that they can enjoy, so that plays a lot into our plans for summer festivals (and life in general).

What drew you to Echelon?

As I got involved with The Salvation Army, I heard about Echelon as a great way to connect with people that were driven to do wonderful things for the community around us. I was attracted to sharing thoughts and ideas with other young professionals about how we can network to create a force within Milwaukee and draw from the communities and companies within and around it to make our world a better place. The Salvation Army is an incredible organization that does fantastic things for so many people. Being a part of Echelon allows me to help shape and be involved in what the next generation of that organization can do to expand that positive impact in so many ways.

Share with us a memorable experience you have had thus far with the organization.

As a founding member of the Milwaukee Echelon group, it has been incredible to see how the organization has grown! There are so many incredible people that have found Echelon as their outlet to do great things - and we're just getting started!!! I'm so proud of what we've become in the relatively short time that we've been organized, and I think it speaks volumes for the future ahead of us as we continue to grow and do things that I can't even imagine right now. This is exciting stuff!

What struggles do you see our city dealing with? What can our generation do to help?

I see an opportunity to "modernize" the way nonprofits and charitable organizations reach out to the citizens of the communities they serve. I believe our generation can help move The Salvation Army and groups similar to it into modern times. There is so much more we can do to fill the needs of those around us. But there's also much more to be done in the effort to tell our success stories and reach out to involve higher numbers of incredible, intelligent, and passionate people who truly have the heart-felt desire to make a difference. Echelon is a focal point to make that happen in Milwaukee, and I'm proud to be a part of it!